Most of the computers in our house feature multi-core processors. Most of the time, Vista appears to manage them just fine. Sometimes, though, an application can get very, very greedy and demand all of the computer’s resources. This happens to me generally when syncing videos to my Zune. Since I have the older Zune 30, it, apparently, only handles one codec natively so any others will require transcoding. This just eats up all of the processing power in the computer. So, when I want to do other things while the transcoding is taking place, I tell Vista to use a specific core. How do you do this? It’s really easy.
Start the task manager (CTRL-ALT-DEL or right click the task bar and select task manager) and locate your application in the list. Right click and select AFFINITY. In the dialog box that follows, deselect the core(s) that you want to free up and click OK. Dismiss the task manager. Now, if you have one of the various cpu meters in your sidebar, you’ll see the difference right away. Vista should be a lot more responsive as well. So, now your application will continue and you can do other things with your computer. Pretty cool, eh?